The United Nations estimates 150,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed into neighboring countries, half of them to Poland, and many to Hungary, Moldova, Romania due to the Russian invasion, and that number could easily be in the millions if the situation worsens.
"More than 150,000 Ukrainian refugees have now crossed into neighboring countries, half of them to Poland, and many to Hungary, Moldova, Romania, and beyond," UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi tweeted on Saturday.
More than 150,000 Ukrainian refugees have now crossed into neighbouring countries, half of them to Poland, and many to Hungary, Moldova, Romania and beyond.— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) February 26, 2022
Displacement in Ukraine is also growing but the military situation makes it difficult to estimate numbers and provide aid.
Shabia Mantoo, the spokeswoman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told AP News the number of Ukrainian refugees is "changing by the hour" and remains "a very fluid" situation.
On Thursday, Russian forces began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine to "demilitarize" the country. A barrage of missiles, artillery, and airstrikes across the country, triggered one of the worst security crises in Europe in more than half a century, as a wave of refugees into Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania is underway.
United Nations agencies forecast as many as four million could flee the country into neighboring countries if the invasion worsens.
On Thursday, hours after Russia's invasion began, we noted that people fled the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, resulting in massive gridlock on the country's highways. Days later, people are still trying to flee the capital as Russian forces near.
#Ukraine #Lviv #ukraine. In the train station hundreds of people wait for some train to runaway to #Przemysl the Polish border.— Ukraine live (@berojag59060636) February 26, 2022
Trains from #Kyiv to #poland now stop in #Lviv. only local trains "electrikshna" go to poland...3h waiting already.#UkraineInvasion #UkraineCrisis pic.twitter.com/Wv2V7szHYu
Ukrainians are waiting for the train to Poland pic.twitter.com/uPQPKPP6OF— Tanya Kozyreva (@TanyaKozyreva) February 26, 2022
"There is a significant movement of the population, but it is also hard to say whether people are moving permanently or for the short-term," said Irina Saghoyan, the eastern Europe director for Save the Children, which has been on the ground in Ukraine since 2014.
For now, central Europe is welcoming Ukrainian refugees with open arms, and Poland is expected to accommodate up to a million new ones.